Of all the dreaded hair misfortunes, brassiness ranks number one on the list. Brassy hair rears its unwanted head especially when hair is not properly treated after colouring.
The result is an over-abundance of warm tones in the hair – think platinum blonde that becomes too yellow or golden highlights that turn orange, or for those with lightened brown to black hair, the underlying pigments turn orange to red.
What’s brassy hair?
When hair is chemically lightened, your natural hair colour is lifted to make room for the new colour. Because all hair has some measure of underlying warmth, the removal of your natural hue makes yellow, orange or red tones more evident – unless of course, you take steps to prevent that from happening.
When that warmth or brassiness happens, you’ll want to step in to get those cooler tones (the ones you originally wanted) back to their rightful place. There are plenty of preventative measures to take so your brassy hair doesn’t show.
The most effective way to keep brassy hair at bay? A good toner. Below we’ve scoured for the 10 best toners for both blonde and brunette locks.
First, let’s look at what a toner does and how to properly use it.
What is a toner and what does it do?
Toners are described as “topcoats for your hair”. According to the Schwartzkopf website, hair toner is “used on hair after strong chemical bleaching and lightening processes in order to get rid of brassy hair tones.” Hair toner is actually an umbrella term used for a variety of hair products that help either darken or lighten coloured hair. Toners aren’t just one specific product.
There are temporary toners and permanent ones. And then there are also glosses, which simply work to add colour and tone to your hair without adding any lightness to it. Purple and blue toners are best used by people with lighter haired, as it will help tone down the yellow blonde and orangey tones of newly bleached hair.
You can find toners in many ways – your salon may offer a toning treatment after getting your hair done, or you can find it in hair care products like shampoo and conditioner that’ll help you maintain the colour at home.
Hair toner works by changing the undertones of your hair colour without altering the current colour or shade. As mentioned above, toner changes hair colour a bit darker or lighter, depending on the desired effect.
Below, 10 of the best hair toners on the market.
#1 Pravana The Perfect Blonde Purple Toning Masque, $29.50
This is the perfect weekly hair treatment for blondes. This deeply nourishing weekly treatment transforms hair from brassy to vibrant in less than 10 minutes. Thanks to its exclusive dual violet dye system and optical brighteners, this luxurious, deeply nourishing treatment instantly neutralises unwanted yellow tones.
- Perfect for blondes
- Well reviewed
- Easy application
- Can leave hair dry if used repeatedly
Final verdict: This is for all the blonde, silver or highlighted hair out there. This mask is packed with coconut oil to add shine, moisturise locks and infuse strength for healthy-looking, beautiful blonde hair.
#2 Schwarzkopf Professional Blond Me Blonde Toning, $9.95
The Schwarzkopf Professional Blond Me Blonde Toning is a favourite among hair professionals and is ideal for bleached hair. The Ice version is recommended for platinum blondes as it helps even out the colour and prevents brassiness that can occur after washing.
You can also mix this up with other shades to create a custom colour treatment that is perfectly suited to your shade. Use by massage into wet hair for up to 1 minute.
- Good consistency
- Easy dispense nozzle
- Works fast
- Leaves hair silky and soft
- Sulfate free
- If left too long can turn platinum blonde hair to an ashy blonde
- Small bottle
Final verdict: This product is perfect for those looking for a cool tone while also gently cleansing and caring for the most delicate lightened and coloured hair. Great for those with platinum blonde or very light blonde colours.
#3 B UNIQ Purple Hair Mask for Blonde, Platinum Silver Hair, $52.89
A purple hair mask is the thing for those wanting to keep their platinum blonde, platinum. It doesn’t just get rid of brassiness it also keeps yellow tones at bay while also deep conditioning your hair.
The B UNIQ Purple Hair Mask is the ultimate hair care treatment to have in your beauty bag. The product contains lots of natural oils that work to nourish your bleach-damaged hair. It also features UV filters, which helps prevent UV rays from breaking down the pigment of your hair.
- Maintains light shades of hair
- Free from parabens, silicone and sulfate
- Offers UV protection
- Contains nourishing oils like Marula, Jojoba and coconut oil
- Leaves hair smooth thanks to Vitamin B5 and soy protein
- Works fast
- Very potent
- Tub lasts a long time
- Can cause hair to become dry
- Can’t be used for darker hair tones
Final verdict: B Uniq Purple Hair Mask is ideal for natural and colour-treated blonde and highlighted hair to reduce brassy discoloration and neutralise unwanted yellow tones. The ultra-pigmented mask is specially formulated for light hair shades; the violet-tone formulation enhances blonde, platinum, white, silver and grey coloring. It’s also the perfect option for those who spend lots of time in the sun.
#4 Christophe Robin Shade Variation Nutritive Mask, $67
The Christophe Robin Shade Variation Care neutralises yellow and grey tones and restores pure, radiant and defined highlights. This mask works to neutralise brassy tones that occur, as well as working to remove yellow from white hair.
The nourishing ingredients in this tinting hair mask, almond butter, shea butter, and buriti oil, combined with an acidic pH of 4.5 help minimise porosity, fix natural oxidation, and evenly distribute colour. The longer you leave this mask on, the more intense your results will be.
- Nourishing and protective properties
- Temporary colouring
- Keeps brass at bay
- If left too long can leave undesired colour
Final verdict: This is not the faint hearted out there! The Christophe Robin Shade Mask is for those with light-blonde hair looking to keep those yellow and grey tones at bay. Be careful, this one requires perfect timing and and expertise in colour. It is also good for those looking to leave coloured hair silky and smooth.
#5 Shu Uemura Color Lustre Reviving Balm, $64
Shu Uemura Colour Lustre Reviving Balm is for cool blondes wanting to restore vibrancy of blonde hair and hold on to that just-coloured feeling. Colour lustre is a rich, post shampoo treatment that refreshes platinum tones and reduces the appearance of unwanted warmth in blonde hair, so that you can prolong the intensity of your colour.
To use, distribute it evenly from root to tip on towel-dried hair after shampooing and conditioning. Leave it on for up to 10 minutes before rinsing out completely.
- Offers good colour protection
- Restores vibrancy
- Hydrates hair with linseed oil
- Tedious application
Final verdict: Shu Uemura’s Color Lustre Reviving Balm is recommended for those with golden blonde hair looking to refresh their highlights and accentuate their tone.
#6 Wella Colour Charm T10 Pale Blonde Toner, $14.99
The Wella Colour Charm T10 Pale Blonde Toner is a shade that has been nicknamed “ivory” or “white lady” because of its extreme and effective lightening effect on hair. This treatment is for those wanting gto achieve the icy white hair look that’s trending. It will get rid of orange undertones and can effectively removed brassiness while leaving a platinum blonde colour.
- Good lifting factors
- Leaves hair refreshed and vibrant
- Liquifuse technology
- Long lasting and fade resistant
- Not good for those looking for a sandier, natural blonde look
- Can leave hair dry
Final verdict: This is one of the most popular, accessible and affordable toners on the market. This particular toner is for lighter shades of blonde who are looking to keep that white and icy tones to their hair.
#7 John Frieda Colour Refreshing Gloss for Cool Brunette, $16.99
The John Frieda Colour Refreshing Gloss for Cool Brunette is for the girls with dark hair or brown hair. The toner is a good option in helping bring vibrancy and life back to your hair. This is a shampoo toner that can be used weekly in the shower. It adds a deep espresso colour to eliminate red-orange tones in just three minutes.
- Leaves hair shiny and healthy
- Brings darker hair to a lighter shade while maintaining brassiness
- Easy to use
- Works in 3 minutes
- Can stain hands and clothing
Final verdict: This powerful and popular gloss is for brunettes and darker haired women wanting to get rid of the red-orange tones after colouring. It’s also for those looking for an easy and effective at home treatment.
#8 Fudge Whiter Shade Of Pale, $18.99
There’s a reason fudge is known for their bright and vibrant hair colours. This toner for blonde hair is another product that is perfect for those seeking light blonde hair, grey and white hair by toning down yellow or orange tones in bleached hair. This treatment is a semi-permanent toner, which means there is no need for frequent application. You can go several weeks without another treatment. As a mixer, you can use with other Paintbox colours to reduce intensity of brighter colours.
- Soothes scalp, has a UVA/UVB filter
- Works as a hair treatment
- Treatment lasts weeks
- If left on too long can turn hair purple
Final verdict: This is for those wanting long-lasting, intense results. Paintbox semi-permanent toner electrifies dull hair and can last up to thirty washes. Vibrant and dramatic results can be expected on pre-lightened hair, and more subtle tones on natural locks.
#9 L’Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Silver Shampoo, $29
For those wanting the cool icy silver hair, this toner is for you. The brand has got a good reputation, so you know its reliable. This silver toner works wonders on grey, white, metallic and platinum hair and helps brassier hair achieve these colours too. This works with the help of a neautralising formula with magnesium and anti-yellow agents that help target brassy tones. This toning shampoo also has a nourishing factor, which gives your hair extra sheen and gloss, along with stronger hair fibres.
- Nourishes while toning
- Strengthens hair
- Colour clarifying
- Might discolour hands and nails purple
Final verdict: The L’Oreal Professionnel Serie Expert Silver Shampoo is a colour clarifying shampoo perfect for grey and white hair that counteracts brassy tones while also strengthening hair. This is also the perfect toner options for those looking for easy, at-home treatments.
#10 Nak Blonde Plus 10V, $15.96
Nak Blonde Plus 10V is one of the most loved toning products available to consumers. It’s a simple product that delivers great results – which is what everyone is looking for. The semi-permanent toning foam helps tone down yellow, gold or brassy colours in the hair. It’s got a blue violet pigment that brings in blonde tones reflective of natural blonde colour or ashy blonde hair.
- Lasts 4 to 6 washes
- Neutralises brassiness
- Sulphate and paraben free
- Not the simplest application
- Can turn hands purple
Final verdict: This toner is best for blonde, highlighted, chemically lightened or grey hair. It is also for those with chemically lightened blonde hair that are looking to create a natural and glossy finish. It’s super easy to use and lasts up to 4 to 6 washes.